Article: “New Not Different: Data-Driven Perspectives on Science Festival Audiences”

What do we know?

  • With the growth of science festivals as part of public science initiatives, more people are beginning to pay attention to who is – and who isn’t – attending science festivals.
  • Limited previous literature from the UK indicates that science festival attendees tend to be more interested in science, more economically privileged, and have higher levels of educational attainment in comparison to national census rates.
  • The authors examined data from the EvalFest Attendee Survey to determine if this trend was consistent across 24 science festival sites in the US.
  • While attendees were demographically consistent with the previous literature, the Attendee Survey highlighted that science festivals attract new attendees every year.

How do we know?

The authors analyzed data from multiple years of the Attendee Survey collected from almost 10,000 attendees at 24 science festivals across the United States. They then compared this data to the US Census data and the General Social Survey (GSS) to see differences and similarities between the US population and science festival attendees.

Where do we go to learn more?

Nielsen, Katherine, M.J. Gathings, and Karen Peterman. (2019). “New, Not Different: Data-Driven Perspectives on Science Festival Audiences.” Science Communication, 41(254-264).